A string of people carrying buckets and milk jugs full of water on their heads across campus can turn some heads.
Ohio State’s chapter of the United Nation’s Children Fund, UNICEF-OSU, hosted a Water Walk on Thursday afternoon to raise awareness about the lack of clean water in developing countries.
The group of about 40 volunteers began their mission at 4 p.m. at the Ohio Union. They walked down 17th Avenue or through Thompson Library with empty buckets and milk jugs on their way to Mirror Lake, where they collected water then passed by 12th Avenue and Neil Avenue before returning to the lake.
Campus policy required the group to put the water back in the lake before returning to the union.
While walking, participants chanted, “Everywhere we go, people wanna know! What we believe in. We believe in zero! Donate a dollar! Forty days of water!”
Ariana Hoet, president of UNICEF-OSU and a fourth-year in psychology, said she was pleased that both spectators and volunteer partipants were witnessing the group’s mission.
“By walking today, students get to feel what children feel every day. (Children) have to walk three miles every day for water,” Hoet said. “And it’s dirty water. Everyone saw us walk by today and wondered, ‘What are you doing?'”
Hoet said when she joined the organization three years ago, 25,000 children were dying daily from preventable factors such as diseases and lack of water. That number has now decreased to 22,000 and it continues to fall. But she said she still isn’t content.
“UNICEF believes that number should be zero,” she said. “And it will be, if we keep doing what we’re doing.”
Hoet said the group has three goals: to fundraise, educate and advocate. Each of their events involves at least one of these goals. The Water Walk’s main priority was fundraising, as each participant was required to raise $30.
“All it takes is $1 to give water to a child for 40 days,” Hoet said. “A child needs a liter every day for 40 days, and $1 buys 40 liters.”
Bryan Hogg said he joined the group because he has seen the difference it has made compared to other student organizations.
“I joined UNICEF because it’s the organization on campus that saved more lives than any other one in history,” said Bryan Hogg, a second-year in political science and English.
Kiaira Zachary, a fourth-year in economics and agribusiness, volunteered for the walk after learning of it. But she said she wasn’t impressed with the turn out.
“It surprised me that not many people volunteered for it. But now that I know, I will volunteer more,” she said.
Hoet said she was content with the day’s events and hoped others were inspired to assist with UNICEF’s mission. Hoet said in past years, the event was not as successful with raising awareness because of poor weather conditions.